The Disability Royal Commission: What’s Happening in 2020?

A Schedule of 2020 Events has been released by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. Alongside this a Progress Report sets out the findings and actions undertaken since the Commission’s establishment in April 2019.

Hearing dates scheduled for the first half of 2020 can be seen below.

Key investigations will focus on cognitive disability access in the health system, the experience of students with disability in the education sector, and the experiences of people with disability in the justice system.

The Royal Commission will also investigate findings into the experiences of First Nations people with disability in terms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Community engagement opportunities throughout the year will enable those with disability an opportunity to share their personal experiences and concerns in less formal environments that will be included and shared in the Royal Commission.

To date the Royal Commission has uncovered many disturbing accounts of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC encourages involvement from the public in the Royal Commission’s investigations and findings. “With the active participation of people with disability, advocates, and the disability community, the Royal Commission provides a genuine opportunity to bring about the transformational change necessary to achieve a more inclusive society.

“Such a society must unstintingly recognise the dignity, autonomy, equality and freedom of choice of people with disability.

In line with this, the Royal Commission will shortly launch a new website which will enable those wishing to be heard to submit their responses and concerns online through a simplified and easy to fill submission form. This website will also make available downloadable resources and online ordering system for free print materials.

Physical Disability Australia remains hopeful that the Royal Commission will positively impact on the lives of all those living with disability in our country.  To keep up to date with key issues we encourage you follow us on social media or to sign up for our free membership.

Together we can make a difference!

  • – February 6: Engagement with First Nations people, organisations and communities – Brisbane
  • – February 11 – 14: Engagement with First Nations people, organisations and communities – Northern Territory
  • – February 17 – 28: Public hearing – Health, Sydney
  • – March 4 – 5: Engagement with First Nations people, organisations and communities – Queensland
  • – March 17 – 19: Community engagement activities – Launceston & Burnie, Tasmania
  • – March 24 – 27: Public hearing – Education, Brisbane
  • – April 1 – 3: Community engagement activities – regional Victoria
  • – April 21 – 22: Community engagement activities – Western Sydney
  • – April 27 – 1 May: Public hearing – Justice, Brisbane
  • – May 6 – 7: Community engagement activities – Brisbane
  • – May 13 – 15: Engagement with First Nations people, organisations and communities – Northern Territory
  • – May 18 – 22: Public hearing – Issues faced by and experiences of First Nations people with disability, Northern Territory
  • – May 25 – 26: Engagement with First Nations people, organisations and communities – Northern Territory
  • – June 10 – 12: Public hearing – Topic to be advised, Tasmania
  • – June 16 – 18: Community engagement activities – Far North Queensland

To find out more details about these events, you can check the Disability Royal Commission website, send an email to, or call their information service on 1800 517 199

PDA President Liz Reid’s speech at International Day of People with Disability Event at Parliament House in Darwin

Thank you Minister Fyles, Minister for Disabilities and good evening everyone,

I would like to acknowledge that this function is being held on the land of the Larrakia People, and pay my respect to elders’ past, present and emerging.

I would like to acknowledge people with a disability and their families on International Day of People with a Disability.

The United Nations sanctioned the 3rd of December as a global day of observance 27 years ago – I like some of you in the room may even remember the first celebration and been part of the reforms and milestones ever since.

The day seeks to increase awareness and inclusion of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
This year’s theme, The future is accessible, this resonates for me personally and professionally.

My name is Liz Reid and I’m the Executive Officer for YouthWorX NT. For those who don’t know me I was born with a rare physical disability and remade from the waist down.

My education journey started at a special school; my parents back then were social inclusion pioneers, I was mainstreamed into the school in my local suburb, with the kids in my street.

I was immersed into everything the average kid would do and disability was never part of the equation. It hasn’t always been easy and requires careful planning and lots of creativity.

It wasn’t until last year that I fully embraced my disability and I became a self-managed NDIS participant – this has been huge for my family and I as I hadn’t been disabled enough for any supports before, a cost that we as a family just did because it was necessary.

The investment in Australians with a disability by governments through the NDIS, is the biggest social reform that can’t be underestimated regarding personal value and social worth. Yes, there have been pain points but it’s getting so much better and more to do. Fun fact – the NDIS conversation has been going on since 1975.

I’m fortunate to be able to blend my work with my passion for the disability community. Privilege to represent Territorians with a disability on local networks like the Darwin City Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, national Disability Representative Organisations and the NDIA Independent Advisory Council, so our voices are heard, and they matter.

Professionally I’ve spent most of my career in education, training and employment with the view that everyone has got the ability to succeed and follow their aspiration and dreams.

For some how they get there might be a little different. I’m a big believer that we need to raise the awareness of people of all abilities and celebrate achievements with the wider community to think and act inclusively, in all aspects of life.

This year YouthWorX NT celebrated 21 years of proudly supporting Territorians to be the best they can be through a range of diverse programs. We have been actively involved with the NDIS since 2011 watching it develop, grow and to find the sweet spot for our organisation to meaningfully contribute to the lives of young people with a disability.

YouthWorX NT was recently awarded a grant from the NDIA’s Information, Linkages and Capacity Building fund to deliver Career Launchpad service. This service provides specialised career coaching and vocational support for young people with disabilities in mainstream school to the world work. The aim is for young people is to enhance in their personal, social and practical employability skills with the ultimate goal of sustainable employment.

Its beautiful the effect this program has on the young people, one young man, who was disengaging and at risk of leaving year 11, now after being part of Career Launchpad and having ongoing coaching sessions, has reengaged and now with the goal of focusing on school, finishing year 12 and a career in the aviation industry.
Career Launchpad has provided an opportunity for young people with a disability to participate in workshops such as Launchpad, vision boards and resume writing alongside young people from our other programs, all while building confidence. Young people don’t see difference, disability is not part of the equation.

I wish to recognise our program partners, Department of Education’s Transition from School Team. APM, NDIA and the skills and talent of the YouthWorX NT team, that believes – Connecting Territorians with opportunities to realise their dreams, goals and potential is paramount to live an ordinary life.

I would like to make a special mention and thanks to the YouthWorX NT Leadership Academy for attending. These young people have made commitment to be the youth voice of our service to represent all young Territorians on matters of diversity, and inclusion.

Thanks to all who everyday promote the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership in our community.